I couldn’t help but feel a small sense of accomplishment on Candlemas this year. This marks our first full year of festivals.  It was with Candlemas last year that I began our year of rhythm.

This year I did manage to spread the festivities out over a few days, but not by much.  I’m still feeling overwhelmed with homeschool some days and Candlemas just snuck up on me. But one thing I have learned is that it is merely the recognition of these special days year after year, and holding a place of mindfulness, that makes these festivals extraordinary.

We planted wheatgrass, which always amazes the children with its rapid growth.

We made beeswax candles, and this year I let the kids participate.  They loved it, and no one was hurt.  Here’s The Boy, threading a wick through a wick clip.

Since Brigid is the goddess of healing and birth, she is commonly associated with cows and ewes.  In honor of that, we made butter by hand, using only a jar and some organic heavy cream.  I remember doing this as a child in elementary school and I remember that it took forever.  It did not take as long as I thought and it was fun for the three of us to keep passing the jar around.

Its so magical and fun to see something so practical happen in such a humble way.  Jar + cream + shaking = butter.  And this stuff is amazing.  It’s a good thing there’s only a small amount.  This could be really bad for my waistline.

In the afternoon, I made a new Brigit’s cross, while the kids played outside.  Last year’s is awaiting our next outdoor fire, to be burned.  (Many wet days in a row have prevented us from having the fire I had planned.)

We started our day with oatmeal pancakes made with soaked whole grains.  We make them using soymilk instead of the yogurt and water, and substituting millet for the buckwheat. (Sadly, no one in my house shares my love for buckwheat pancakes.)  If you have the time, do watch the video.

Since Brigid is also the goddess of poetry, we read Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, always a hit with the kids. We also read last year’s favorites A Little Bit of Winter by Paul Stewart and The Happy Day by Ruth Krauss, and enjoyed “Saint Bridgit and The King’s Wolf” from The Book of Saints and Friendly Beasts by Abbie Farwell Brown.

I now understand a bit better what it means to celebrate these festivals, no matter how small they may seem.  Now that we have celebrated every festival for a year, I more closely feel a sense of the cyclical nature of time, the seasonality of the year and the comfort of ritual.  I have a better sense of the seasons, which can be hard to accomplish here in the South where it feels like summer eight months out of the year.  I hope I have passed this on to my children.  Even if they may not be able to articulate it, it is now a part of who they are.  A part of their childhood experience.

3 Responses to “Candlemas”

  1. Jo writes:

    Congratulations on your year of rhythm! I am determined to find just a little more rhythm in this year than I have previously, despite all the huge changes that are coming about (wedding, baby number two etc etc). I’ll be sure to look back through your posts for some inspiration.

  2. Tammy writes:

    I remember being startled that my then four year old was allowed to make her own beeswax candle, and cook (at a real stove), at the Waldorf-Steiner school she attended. But her satisfaction and sense of accomplishment were palpable. I understood the point. A child creating something beautiful is a moment of magic, and I still remember her glowing eyes…

    Rituals imbue our day-to-day with meaning, on festival days even more so.

  3. saraelise writes:

    Sounds like a splendid celebration! Congratulations on a full year of festivals!

    Homemade butter is Pablo’s job around here and it is dangerously good stuff. :)

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